in the news on-line, 11 September 2012

23:22:36 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Leather producer face $16,000 pollution fine:

HCM City authorities have fined Hao Duong Leather Tanning Joint-Stock Company VND340 million (US$16,300) for violating environmental protection regulations.

The HCM City Department of Natural Resources and Environment took the action after discovering that Hao Duong have been discharging untreated waste into the Dong Dien River. They say that the company, who operate in the City’s Nha Be District, have dumped waste over 30 times since they upgraded their capacity in 2005.
Authorities have also fined the Colusa Miliket food company. They will have to pay VND105 million ($5,000) for violating the regulations in the Thu Duc District. to read.

* Garment exports reach $10.8b:

The country’s textile and garment sector achieved a trade surplus of US$5.3 billion in the first eight months of 2012, a year-on-year increase of 24 per cent.

According to the Viet Nam Textile and Garment Association (VITAS), in the first eight months of the year, the sector achieved an export turnover of $10.8 billion, an increase of 6 per cent compared with the same period last year.
The textile and garment sector has taken the lead of the country’s top 10 export products. read more.

23:22:36 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* More jobless seen:

Unemployment could rise to 1.1-1.3 per cent next year from 0.8 per cent now when the new minimum wage takes effect nationwide and hurts small businesses, Siam Commercial Bank predicts.

However, the higher wage would force businesses to boost productivity and this would reduce their need for workers amid the tight labour market, the bank’s Economic Intelligence Centre said yesterday.
“Still, this is not an easy task, as SMEs have their own limitations. Plus, they would be hit the hardest as only a few can take advantage of the corporate-tax cut.

“The government should come up with special programmes to help them enhance productivity, which could include a soft loan for machinery purchases or tax incentives for training courses,” the bank said.
Despite the predicted increase in joblessness, the unemployment rate here is still lower than in other countries, thanks to the tight labour market. to read.

23:22:36 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Investment in Cambodia’s construction up 85 pct in 7 months:

Construction sector had attracted the investment of $1.38 billion in the first seven months of 2012, a 85 percent rise from $747 million at the same period last year, a report from the ministry of land management, urban planning and construction showed on Monday.

During the January-July period this year, the ministry had issued licenses to 1,083 construction projects, down 15 percent from 1,279 projects at the same period last year.

“There is a sharp increase in investment value this year, but a decrease in construction projects because projects this year are bigger in size than those of last year,” said Lao Tip Seiha, deputy director-general of the ministry’s construction general- department.

The projects include residential units, commercial buildings, apartments, hotels, casinos, agricultural product processing plants and garment factories, he said.

Besides local ones, foreign investors involved in the projects are mostly from South Korea, China, Malaysia and Vietnam.
read more.

22:52:36 local time map of myanmar BURMA/MYANMAR

* Garment workers protest in Yangon outskirts:

About 1000 textile workers marched through Yangon on September 7 to demand increased pay, in the latest show of labour activism following the end of decades of military rule.

Long silenced under the generals who ran the country for almost half a century until last year, Myanmar’s workforce is now daring to speak out to call for better wages and conditions.
The protesters walked for several hours from their factory to a government labour office in Yangon. Police did not intervene even though the demonstrators did not have official permission.

“I’m here to ask for a salary increase,” said a female worker who said she earned about US$90 a month including overtime.
“When other factories faced protests, our employers persuaded us not to demonstrate and promised they would take care of us. But they just gave us a bottle of cooking oil. Nothing else,” she said. read more.

* Labour minister meets FTUB leader Maung Maung:

Maung Maung, the general secretary of the Federation of Trade Unions of Burma (FTUB), based in exile, met with Labour Minister Maung Myint on Friday to discuss worker issues.

Among the issues facing the country are minimum salaries for workers, plans to provide work-related training, protection of workers rights and migrant workers in foreign countries.

Aye Cho, who attended the meeting at the ministry in Naypyitaw, told Mizzima that they discussed workers affairs, but it was lacking in detail.read more.

22:22:36 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLA DESH

* Fighting for Bangladesh Labor, and Ending Up in Pauper’s Grave:

His tiny office was lost among the hulking garment factories that churn out cargo pants or polo shirts for brands like Gap or Tommy Hilfiger, yet workers managed to find Aminul Islam. They came with problems. Unpaid wages. Abusive bosses. Mr. Islam, a labor organizer, fought for their rights.

Security forces found Mr. Islam, too. His phone was tapped, the police regularly harassed him, and domestic intelligence agents once abducted and beat him, his co-workers and family say. More than once, he was told his advocacy for workers was hurting a country where garment exports drive the domestic economy.

And then no one could find Mr. Islam.
He disappeared April 4. Days later, his family discovered that he had been tortured and killed. His murder bore a grim familiarity in a country with a brutal legacy of politically motivated killings, and it raised a troubling question: Was he killed for trying to organize workers?

Five months later, Mr. Islam’s killing remains under investigation. There have been no arrests in the case, and the police say they have made little progress.
On the day he disappeared, Mr. Islam was trying to resolve a labor impasse at factories that stitch shirts for Tommy Hilfiger, American Eagle and other global brands. Then an acquaintance arrived unexpectedly, accompanied by a woman in a veil. The man, now suspected of having ties to security agencies, had an urgent request, that Mr. Islam officiate at his wedding.

Mr. Islam rode off in a rickshaw to help him and was never seen again.
It is unclear if Mr. Islam was killed because of his work, and it is possible that he was killed for an altogether different motive. But his labor advocacy had collided with powerful interests in Bangladesh, now the second leading exporter of apparel in the world, after China. Cheap, nonunion labor is essential to the export formula in Bangladesh, where the minimum wage for garment workers is $37 a month. Unions are almost nonexistent in apparel factories. read more. & read more.
 

* Working women to get cheaper accommodation:

 Working women in different industrial areas will get cheaper accommodation under a project to be financed from the central bank’s revolving fund for housing for poor and lower income group people, reports BSS.
“Steps have been taken to build hostels for working women in industrial sector,” Bangladesh Bank (BB) Governor Dr Atiur Rahman told a programme held at the central bank headquarters on Monday.
He said under this initiative, the Department of Women Affairs would start soon building a hostel for working women in Ashulia, Savar at a cost of taka 27 crore.
The governor was handing over taka 3.5 crore to 40 non-government organisations (NGOs) from the central bank’s revolving fund for disbursing housing loans among poor and lower income group people who seldom get such credit from banks and other financial institutions. read more.

* RMG makers seek to fortify footprint in Korea:

Garment manufacturers have set their sights on South Korea as they seek to fortify their footprint in Asia’s fourth biggest economy, which can also help them skirt slowing shipment in traditional European and US markets.

Industry leaders said Monday Korea has the potential to emerge as the fourth largest Asian market for Bangladeshi apparel products after China, Japan and India.
Shipment of clothing, which accounts for more than 80 per cent of the country’s US$24 billion exports, is concentrated in traditional markets such as the EU, the US and Canada, they said. read more.

21:52:36 local time map of india INDIA

* Weavers will stage dharna on Friday:

Akhila Karnataka Kaimagga Nekar Sangh of Hubli will stage a dharna in front of chief minister Jagadish Shettar’s residence in Hubli on Friday.

Handloom weavers are facing various problems for decades but no government is considering their problems seriously, said N J Malavade, vice-president, Akhila Karnataka Kaimagga Nekar Sangh, in a press release. Their main demands include waiving the loans of weavers and providing houses and jobs to them Government should fix the wages to weavers according to market price hike and an enquiry should be conducted into the scams of the handloom board, the release said.to read.

* Maharashtra’s new textile policy aims to attract Gujarat powerlooms:

Shortly after the Gujarat government announced its textile policy, Maharashtra has come to lure Gujarat’s entrepreneurs to set up powerlooms in that state. A Rs 40,000 crore package under the New Textile Policy of Maharashtra 2011-17 aims to attract cottonprocessors from Gujarat.

“Although Maharashtra grows 90 lakh bales of cotton, mere 20% of it is processed, the rest goes to neighbouring states with processing capacities. Now, we are keen to fill this weak link in the value chain,” said textiles minister of Maharashtra MA Khan. He was here with a delegation to attract investment in his state.

Maharashtra promises to put textile projects on fast track once they are approved by the ministry of textiles under TUFS. “We are aspiring to increase our processing capacities to 45 lakh bales from current 20 lakh bales,” added secretary textiles Rajagopal Devara. read more.

* Now, Maharashtra woos Gujarat Inc. with textile policy:

Maharashtra govt to provide 9% capital subsidy or up to Rs 9 crore, whichever is less for the infrastructure development in the proposed textile parks

After Gujarat recently unveiled its new textile policy, the state has a competition from its neighbour. Through a series of road shows, Maharashtra is wooing the industry with its new textile policy 2011-2017.
Inviting the industry in Gujarat to invest in the state, a high level delegation from the Government of Maharashtra headed by Mohammed Arif (Naseem) Khan, minister of textiles on Monday visited Ahmedabad. read more.

* Maharashtra aims Rs 10k textile investment from Guj:

After Gujarat recently unveiled its new textile policy, the state has a competition from its neighbour.

Through a series of presentations, Maharashtra is wooing the industry with its new textile policy 2011-2017. What’s more, out of the targeted Rs 40,000 crore investments in textiles between 2011 and 2017, Maharashtra is aiming at Rs 10,000 crore to come from Gujarat.
Inviting the industry in Gujarat to invest in the state, a high level delegation from the Government of Maharashtra headed by Mohammed Arif (Naseem) Khan, minister of textiles on Monday visited Ahmedabad.

Rolling out the red carpet to the textile sector of Gujarat to invest in Maharashtra, the delegation – comprising of Rajagopal Devara, secretary – cooperation and textiles, GoM; N NawinSona, director – textiles, GoM and Dilip Gawade, deputy CEO, MIDC, GoM, among others laid out the salient features and specific benefits of the New Textile Policy of Maharashtra 2011–2017. read more.

* We have better textile policy than Gujarat: Maharashtra textile minister:

Marketing opportunities in textile sector in Maharashtra and promoting its policy, senior government officials from the neighboring state hosted a road show in Ahmedabad on Monday. The visit of Mahasrashtra government officials, including textile minister Naseem Khan, comes days after Gujarat announced its textile policy.

Gujarat and Maharashtra are looking to attract investments and reverse the phenomenon of their cotton produce going to other states for processing.

“We announced the policy in March this year and have already got proposal for 263 projects and are estimating Rs 40,000 crore investments in the sector in the next five years. Our policy gives out sops to all kinds of textile processing. But the Gujarat policy talks about power subsidies only to spinning units,” said Khan.
read more.

* West Bengal govt approves Rs 450mn for two sick jute mills:

The Government of West Bengal, a state in eastern India, has approved a Rs. 450 million relief package for workers of two sick mills under the National Jute Manufacturers’ Corporation (NJMC).
The rehabilitation package for Kennison Jute Mill and Khardah Jute Mill, both located in Hooghly district of the state, was approved at a meeting of the state Cabinet Chaired by Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee.
 The two mills, which together employ over 5,000 workers, would be granted status of relief undertakings for six months, the Chief Minister said.
 Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee said as the two mills are located in the state, the state government felt it was its moral duty to formulate a rehabilitation package for the workers of the two sick mills. read more.

* Stress levels rise in India:

The latest research by workspace provider Regus shows that Indian workers are getting more stressed. The survey reveals that work (51%) and personal finances (50%) are the contributing factors for the increased stress levels of the Indian work-force.

The Regus survey, canvassing the opinions of over 16,000 professionals across the globe, found that over half (51%) of Indian respondents say their stress levels have risen over the past year. Stress levels have only multiplied, thanks to a bad economic year.

A number of factors such as work, personal finances, and commute to work as well as continuing instability in the world economy are thought to have fuelled this growing pressure and respondents confirm that most stress triggers are of a professional rather than personal nature, with their job, personal finances and customers topping the list of causes.read more.

21:22:36 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Reduction in GIDC welcomed: textile exports likely to increase by 10 to 15 percent: APTMA:

Exports of textile sector are likely to increase by 10-15 percent during next one year with support of relief recently announced by the government. Addressing a press conference here on Monday, Yasin Siddik, Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Sindh Balochistan zone has welcomed the government decision to reduce Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) and export refinance rate.

He said that on the demand of APTMA, President Asif Ali Zardari and Advisor to the Prime Minister on Petroleum and Natural Resources, Dr Asim Hussain has announced 50 percent cut in the already imposed GIDC on the industrial sector of the country. Now, it will be charged at Rs 50 per MMCF for the industrial consumers as against Rs 100 per MMCF was announced in the Finance Bill 2012-13, he informed.read more.

* Duty-free market access: EU Consuls of Minister meeting in Brussel today:

Eierrer Mayaudon, Deputy Head of Delegation, European Union, has told Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Federal Advisor on Textile that on Tuesday (September 11) there is EU Consuls of Minister meeting in Brussels to approve duty-free market access to 75 items out of which 65 are textile products.

Dr Baig called on him in Islamabad to discuss the issue in detail. It may be noted that the original recommendations for this tariff concession and market access was from November 01, 2012 till December 31, 2013, thereafter with effect from January 01, 2014 Pakistan will entitle for duty free market access under GSP Plus scheme as per revised criteria. read more.

* Pakistan govt prioritizes gas supply to textile sector:

In order to bring back the country’s highest foreign exchanging earning textile industry on track, Pakistan Government has prioritized providing uninterrupted gas supply to the industry, Dr. Asim Hussain, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Petroleum and Natural Resources, has said.
Addressing textile exporters at the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA), he said President Asif Ali Zardari has already issued directions for preparation of a roadmap for reviving the country’s textile industry.
Severe gas crisis in the country necessitated extraordinary measures on an urgent basis, following which the Government is pursuing Iran-Pakistan and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline projects, to ease the situation, he said.
read more.

21:22:36 local time map of uzbekistan UZBEKISTAN

* Government of Uzbekistan Fails to Allow ILO Monitoring of Cotton Harvest: Urgent Call to Action for Governments & Companies:

 Once again, the government of Uzbekistan has refused to invite an International Labour Organisation mission to conduct monitoring during the cotton harvest. In a clear demonstration of the top-down, government-dictated process, the Uzbek government formally initiated the country’s cotton harvest today by issuing its annual order to commence the national cotton harvest. Across the country, schools will close while teachers and students alike are forced into the fields, and farmers will spend the next months working to ensure that they meet the government established production quotas.

Since 2009 the ILO has called on the Uzbek government to respond to continued reports from workers, employers, and civil society of the systematic and persistent use of forced labour of children and adults in Uzbekistan’s cotton fields. Since 2010 the ILO tripartite supervisory body has called on the GOU to invite a high-level tripartite mission to conduct unfettered monitoring during the cotton harvest. In 2012, review of all country cases by the ILO supervisory body was suspended for reasons unrelated to the case against Uzbekistan, and with the ILO tripartite recommendations outstanding, the ILO offered the Uzbek government an opportunity to take an initial step.read more.

map of Asia

VIET NAM
* Leather producer face $16,000 pollution fine
* Garment exports reach $10.8b

THAILAND
* More jobless seen

CAMBODIA
* Investment in Cambodia’s construction up 85 pct in 7 months

BURMA/MYANMAR
* Garment workers protest in Yangon outskirts
* Labour minister meets FTUB leader Maung Maung

BANGLA DESH
* Fighting for Bangladesh Labor, and Ending Up in Pauper’s Grave
* Working women to get cheaper accommodation
* RMG makers seek to fortify footprint in Korea

INDIA
* Weavers will stage dharna on Friday
* Maharashtra’s new textile policy aims to attract Gujarat powerlooms
* Now, Maharashtra woos Gujarat Inc. with textile policy
* Maharashtra aims Rs 10k textile investment from Guj
* We have better textile policy than Gujarat: Maharashtra textile minister
* West Bengal govt approves Rs 450mn for two sick jute mills
* Stress levels rise in India

PAKISTAN
* Reduction in GIDC welcomed: textile exports likely to increase by 10 to 15 percent
* Duty-free market access: EU Consuls of Minister meeting in Brussel today
* Pakistan govt prioritizes gas supply to textile sector

UZBEKISTAN
* Government of Uzbekistan Fails to Allow ILO Monitoring of Cotton Harvest: Urgent Call to Action for Governments & Companies

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I wonder who they are
The men who really run this land
And I wonder why they run it
With such a thoughtless hand

What are their names
And on what streets do they live
I'd like to ride right over
This afternoon and give
Them a piece of my mind
About peace for mankind
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How much the makers have paid for this
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